fighting for free hearts

Katie Roiphe And Our ‘Jaded, Porn-Saturated Age’

Katie Roiphe writes a cultural analysis in the current issue of Newsweek focusing on the popularity of 50 Shades of Grey and the HBO series Girls.

She goes in a particular direction with her appraisal of what it means for women that the book and the TV series are popular among women while they feature sexual submission of women in their story lines.

Roiphe’s essay has sparked much strong response for what she seems to be saying about feminism.

Roiphe’s direction on this issue is different than the one i am taking, so i will leave it to her and her detractors to sort out the feminist issues.

From my perspective, that was most interesting was this line from Roiphe’s essay:

What is interesting is that this material still, in our jaded porn-saturated age, manages to be titillating or controversial or newsworthy.

There is actually a lot to think about in this one line alone.

First, the accurate appraisal.  It’s not just former addicts or women who formerly worked in the porn industry or cultural watchdogs who are saying we are living in a “porn-saturated  age.” It’s sad that it’s true, but it’s nice to hear a woman in Roiphe’s position, with her cultural perspective, agreeing with my appraisal.

Second, Roiphe raises a good point in many ways:  why does a book such as 50 Shades of Grey or a TV show like Girls become controversial or newsworthy?

i know why i write about it. But in our society at large, where pornography and the effects of porn culture on mainstream culture are treated as normative, why is it a cover story in Newsweek? On one hand, it should be — to mainstream culture, which sees nothing really wrong with porn — a non-event.  Wouldn’t the average person who thinks porn is fine really say “Whatever,” when it comes to 50 Shades of Grey or the sexual themes in Girls?

But mainstream culture doesn’t shrug it off with “Whatever” because sex truly can never be “Whatever.”

Another thought:  i think it’s really interesting that Roiphe used “jaded” to describe our porn-saturated age. It’s appropriate.

Porn does make us extremely jaded.

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